Some people wonder how it is possible to commit yourself fully to one person for so long. With the high rate of divorce and people who are unhappy in their marriages, it is no surprise that the question is always raised...why get married? Personally, I am afraid of marriage and all it entails. Suppose I never find the right man...will I have to settle for what I get? Suppose the man I marry is not who I think he is? Suppose I can't handle parenthood?
Recently, I interviewed a lovely woman from my church who I admire greatly. She has been happily married for 21 years and shared some invaluable insight with me. Her lovely words of wisdom are shown in the interview below. I hope that her words will help those couples who are struggling to keep their marriages alive.
Do you find that with work and all of the responsibilities you and your husband have that you are drifting apart?
Not at all. Life is extremely full. Career, children, parents, church, community. We are always on the go but nothing beats coming home to each other. We are never out of touch. We call, text and WhatsApp through the day so we are in each other's day even if we are miles away. Our relationship is so elemental that it is the canvas to which everything else in our life is attached. It's the glue that keeps it all together. The greater the demands on us the more we rely on each other to rest, recharge and nurture so that we can cope with the demands. We make time for date night and couples vacations. But most importantly on a day by day basis we talk to each other.
Has there been a point in your marriage where you felt that the relationship became lifeless?
Never! It's much easier to keep something alive than revive it when it's nearly dead!
How do you keep your marriage strong?
We have never consciously 'worked' to keep our marriage strong. Yet it has flourished without us really noticing it. I guess it starts with a solid foundation. If you marry your best friend then spending time together is a joy. If you enjoy many of the same things it's helpful. But you are not photocopies of each other. So being able to happily tolerate the others interests is also important. My husband loves to cook! So I eat and enjoy whatever he has prepared even if it means an extra hour in the gym to work of the calories! I believe there should be no completely exclusive interests. So he likes to play football with the guys but if she wants to sit on the side of the football field under a tree and read a book while the guys play this shouldn't be an issue. I find that couples who have 'space' that the other is forbidden to enter often develop competing relationships within that space. A solid relationship with God is invaluable. The marriage cannot fail if both parties remain committed and obedient to God.
What advice would you give to young couples who are beginning to feel the "seven year itch"?
Look critically at the relationship. Make each other your number one priority. Amputate (yes amputate!) any competing relationships. Get back to God and remember obedience is better than sacrifice. Love each other. It's as simple as that. Check 1Corinthians 13 if you have forgotten what that means.